The Paint Rock River is a free-flowing tributary of the Tennessee River spans three counties in northeastern Alabama and one county in southeastern Tennessee. The Watershed encompasses about 460 square miles and is one of the most biologically important regions in the state for both aquatic and plant and animal associations.
The Paint Rock River supports an extremely diverse array of aquatic life, including some 100 species of fish and about 45 different mussel species. More than 12 globally rare mussels are found in the Paint Rock and its tributaries. One of the mussel species are found nowhere else in the world and one fish species is confined to the Paint Rock River and one stream in Kentucky.
On top of the plateaus within the watershed, isolated ponds dot the landscape. White-fringeless orchids are often found around the pond perimeters and state-rare dragonflies are found in the above waters.
This watershed harbors a massive and unique rock formation known as the Walls of Jericho by local residents. The underlying limestone of the watershed is riddled with caves, springs and sinkholes and is a well-known destination for cavers throughout the US. TNC established Keel Mountain preserve in 2001 at the "foot" of this watershed.